Nicole was pursuer, jury told Trial hears a lurid tale of sex, drugs
Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Richard Price
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Slain 28 months ago, Nicole Brown Simpson
nevertheless took the brunt of a punishing opening statement here Thursday from
O.J. Simpson's lawyer, who characterized her as a lost and moody woman who
traveled in a dangerous world of booze, drugs and sex.
Moreover, lawyer Robert Baker told jurors, it was Nicole -- and not her
ex-husband -- who entertained an imbalanced obsession with Simpson. ``She was
the pursuer,'' Baker told jurors. And their ``rocky moments'' were largely the
result of Nicole Simpson's ``stormy personality.''
Although Simpson critics long expected such an attack, lawyers in his criminal
trial bypassed the strategy. But Baker rushed right to it in his opening statement
for the wrongful-death suit against Simpson in the deaths of his ex-wife and her
friend Ron Goldman.
``It was as close to calling her a slut as you can be,'' said Laurie Levenson, dean
of Loyola Law School.
The strategy has two goals, say the experts. First, it's designed to erase Simpson's
alleged motive for murder. On Wednesday, lawyers for the Goldman and Brown
families -- who filed the suit -- said Simpson killed his ex-wife because she
ended their relationship. Baker's version: Nicole was the aggrieved partner.
The other goal, experts say: Convince jurors that Nicole's lifestyle led her into
the path of a killer. ``She was partying with people she didn't know anything
about,'' he said.
As soon as the assault began, Nicole's mother, Juditha, began to cry. At the first
morning break, she and Nicole's sister, Denise, walked out and never came back.
Ron Goldman's father, Fred, and stepmother, Patti, didn't return from lunch.
By the afternoon session the only family members remaining were Goldman's
sister, Kim, and his mother, Sharon Rufo. Sitting separately, the pair cried
periodically. Kim's face was beet red the entire day, and she glared continuously
at Simpson, who was heard complaining about it. During a break, while eyeing
Simpson in the hallway, she asked a reporter to move aside. ``You're in my line
Along the way, Baker also lashed out at Nicole's friends, particularly Cora
Fischman and Faye Resnick, who are to testify against Simpson. Fischman, he
said, used Nicole as an alibi to her husband because she was having an affair.
And Resnick, he told the jury, ``was heavily into drugs."
But it was Nicole who came under the sharpest attack. She had ``a lot of men . . .
and when she had boyfriend problems, she went to O.J. Simpson.''
This behavior, Baker implies, explains why Simpson occasionally burst in to his
ex-wife's home or appeared to be spying on her. He was concerned for his kids.
But for all of Nicole's alleged misconduct, Baker said, she still loved Simpson
and wanted him back. She followed him once to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. She
always came up with reasons to drop by the house -- baking him cookies or
dropping off videos for the kids.
Why did she want him? Because, Baker said, together ``their life was a terrific
one. They loved each other . . . but they both had very strong personalities.''
PHOTO, B/W,Reed Saxon,AP; PHOTO, B/W,Mark J. Terrill,AP; Caption:
Trial's second day: Lawyer Daniel Petrocelli and plaintiffs Fred and Patti
Goldman arrive at court Thursday, followed by an unidentified associate and the
Goldmans' daughter, Kim, second from right. Simpson: Gives thumbs-up to